Thursday, 28 August 2008

Dante's Missing Chapter

Spent the weekend at the hell hole that is Reading festival. I just don't get the idea of the festival experience. You get no sleep, the weather is always miserable at at least one point for whatever reason, too hot, too cold, too wet. The food is overpriced and makes you feel ill. The people are always the worst part though. {well boo-friggin'-hoo. How many times have you been? 3? - Bella} I go to festivals to see as many good bands as possible over a weekend. Not to spend the whole thing fucked up, setting stuff on fire and hitting bins with sticks. I don't see why people pay £150 to do this?
But what about the music?


The first band I managed to catch of the festival was Future of the left. (Mclusky, Rice is nice) They played at a ridiculously early time for a band that good but were still able to blast through the haze of yesterdays chemical indulgence that hovered over those who got up in time to catch them. The second act I saw was a little bit of a change, John Cooper Clark's dark northern poems and banter were one of my festival highlights. Amazing to finally see the man live. (Twat)

These New Puritans dark art punk and the singers golden armor are better suited to poorly lit squalor than the middle of the day in a field in Berkshire but the songs are good enough to hold up to any setting. Navigate, Navigate (the Loving Hand Remix). Florence and the Machine to follow made for the second odd juxtaposition of the day. She was fucking incredible, shit loads of energy and stage presence and a voice to rival any at the festival. (Hospital Beds)

The 2 last bands of the day that I saw were 2 of things that I was most looking forward to over the whole weekend. First up was Late of the pier, check an earlier post for more gushing praise but they were as amazing as always. (Kids TV theme tune min mix form the mash up)

Then came the band that was the only reason I had spent all my money on a Reading Ticket for. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE!!! They are one of my favorite bands of all time and one that I never thought I would get to see. They did not disappoint, fucking hell. Morello is just incredible, the songs still sound so fresh and seeing them in a crowd with every single person screaming along to every word was one of the best live experiences of my life. Guerilla Radio (Soda & Suds Remix) (Bombs over Baghdad {Outkast})


Day 2 started with Lovvers, seen them a couple of time now and they are just so good. The songs are loud and short and hurled at the crowd by reeling group of misfits. (Wasted Youth) (No Romantics). Go see them live. Next up came Jeffrey Lewis. Second time I have seen him in a couple of weeks and this performance was no where near as good as filed day. Some sound problems, no pictures and a set short on my favorite songs. This isn't to say that it wasn't good, just that it could have been better. The man is still one of the greatest songwriters around at the moment. (History of punk on the lower east side)

Another act that I saw at both Reading and Field day was White Lies. They played a good set of reasonable songs and are going to be doing so over the coming months to bigger and bigger crowds. Former tour mates of theirs Crystal Castles have just remixed one of their songs and made it so much better, which is really the only reason i am mentioning them again so soon. (Death (Crystal Castles remix)). I managed to see a bit of Los Campensinos! and wish I saw more, they seemed really good from what I did see. (Frontwards).

Next was Justice. After 2 days of guitars they were pretty refreshing and fucking mindblowingly good. They didn't play the dance tent because the festival organizers reckoned they would draw too large a crowd. Seeing the second biggest tent at Reading packed with people off their tits with happiness listening to electro made me realize how much the audience at Reading has shifted recently. This is meant to be a rock festival! Metallica (Now I wanna Sniff Some Glue-Ramones Cover) are playing for fuck sake. Justice should have been given their slot in my opinion, probably wouldn't have gone down well though if they were? (Fucked Up, Stress{Justice Cover}). I saw a bit of Bloc Party's set and they were impressive, pretty sure I even saw Kele smile, cant be sure though. Missed the Ting Tings earlier in the day, I say missed, I had no intention of going but apparently they were surprising tolerable. (Bloc party vs. The Ting Tings, Thats not My Flux). I watched most of The Killers set and they were really fucking good. Big anthems and finely tuned showmanship. Sandwiched as headliners between Rage and Metallica they had a bit of a task to not appear lacking and they didn't. (Mr Brightside ( Big Room Mix), Jealous Guys)


My last day at Reading started with a clash. Xerox Teens or The Metros? I chose to see a bit of both. Xerox Teens dark angular music, like These New Puritans, is better suited to the dark but they were still pretty good. The singers cooler than thou stand still while wearing sun glasses at all times shtick has worn a bit thin but I still like them (How to reduce your chances of being a terror victim). The Metros played their scuzzy south London rock in their usual shambling way. ( Metros vs Toddla T). Both bands were good and will probably be playing higher up th bill next year. Next Came The Death Set. They dashed around the stage spinning and thrashing their guitars, one went up the speakers till he could reach the lighting rig. The music was messy and noisy and they finished their set by smashing guitars and even setting one on fire. I loved them. (Impossible {Etan Remix})
(Negative Thinking) .

I caught a couple of Holy Fuck songs and they were pretty odd but pretty good, wish I could have watched more. (Royal Gregory) (Lovely Allen). I missed the end of Holy Fuck because I wanted to go and see Johnny Foreigner and I am glad I did. Los Campensinos-esque really good indie-pop. (Champagne girls I have known)

From Emmy the Great's Myspace

They were followed by another highlight, the truly spectacular Emmy the Great. The tent was packed and utterly silent during the songs, people were truly mesmerized. One friend told me that he was nearly in tears. Truly incredible. (Where is my mind-Pixies Cover). The next act I saw couldn't really have been much rather from Emmy, (who the security guards took their ear plugs out for!) Cage the Elephant played a primal rock'n'roll show with the singer stalking the stage, emulating his hero iggy. They even played a stooges cover. Really good fun. (New Wicked Devil). Next cam my biggest disappointment of the festival, Wiley. I was really looking forward to this but it was fucking awful. The crowd was full of twats who seemed to think that the way to get to the front of a crowd is not to turn up early but to wait till a set has started and then charge drunkenly in battering as many people as you can on they way in. Wiley didn't help matters, he didn't so much play a set as dance around Rolex (Hot Chip, Wearing my Rolex( Live Lounge). We got it about three times, he dropped verses from it over other beds and dropped the synth line during other songs. Crowd pleasing showmanship from someone who needn't rely on it. What happened to the old Wiley? (Grime Kid). After Wiley played the entire crowd poured out, the Kills were up next, not a lot of overlap in fans apparently. This did mean I got in as close as I wanted to for the Kills set. They were amazing and a really good way to finish the festival. Writhing about on stage, wringing dirty guitar lines and howling brooding words, they were sick. (URA Fever JaZzzstePpa (Dubstep remx))

Monday, 18 August 2008


The Mercury Prize 2009 winning album, Fantasy Black Channel has finally come out. The tracks, in one version or another, have been floating about for the better part of a year now, but they still sound so good. Go and buy this record. People are having trouble slapping a label on this, it really is just mental. No mutant genre mash up will really do this justice, all you really need to know is that its sick like Freddy Mercury in the eighties and you need to own a copy. They are also a fucking incredible live band, having seen them grace stages in bars, venues, festivals, a shop and even on one occasion a multi story car park, I can guarantee they will not disappoint. Check the photo below for the level of performance they put on even when playing in a shop. Its from their instore in Pure Groove. The gig started with them complaining that they had not been allowed to bring a light show, their response, bring a load of torches and give them to the people in the crowd to swing around for a DIY light show that actually turned out really well. You can see the torches at the front of the photo, below Sam testing Pure Grooves ceiling durability.

Picture by Gabriel Green

Broken (Fairy Lights Remix)
The Bears are coming (Emperor Machine Remix)
The Bears are coming (Beyond The Wizard Sleeves Remix)
The Enemy are the Future ( Sams Dance Edit)
Space and the woods (Primary 1 Remix)
Space and the woods (Barringtone Remix)
Bears are coming (Partyshank Remix)
Heartbeat (Zonagim Remix)
Heartbeat (La La Lepus Remix)
Space and the Woods (Neon Plastix Remix)

Space and the Woods (Blaze Tripp Remix)
The bears are coming (Haunts Remix)
Space and the Woods (Bolt Action 5 Remix)
Space and the Woods (Toxic Avenger Remix)

Here are a couple of separates, have a go at your own remixes and send them along.

Space and the Woods

Saturday, 16 August 2008

wipe front-to-back if ya know where it's at.


I saw HEALTH at the Old Blue Last about a month ago, and recently (twice in two days...fangirl, much?) with No Age and Lovvers (replacing the silly, passport-losing Dan Deacon) on the 11th August at Scala, and the 12th August at a Rough Trade East free in-store gig.

HEALTH do experimental noise-rock, but they don't entirely fit into that category because they throw in all kinds of weird and wonderful electronic bits and bobs.

There is something primitive and primal about the music these boys make. Not horny-monkey-rattling-the-bars-of-its-cage-because-its-balls-are-as-big-as-space-hoppers kind of primitive. Nor is it the kind of primal you envision epitomised by large, loutish, bawdy chauvinistic males watching rental porno with the Match Of The Day theme tune accompanying jiggling tits in the background whilst making fart jokes.

They do yowling and howling softly over hard, fast, unpredictable beats. Their music is weird, testosterone-fueled, and aggressive - pumped up to pulsating eyeballs with adrenaline so much that they're almost bleeding, yet seeping a kind of human self-consciousness - this quality caressing their music, making it original and unique. It's a kind of paradox: sophisticated emotions are unfurled and mixed with the primitive side of human nature at the same time. It's like something has been whipped out of your subconscious and this thing has been assigned a noise and you're so completely mesmerised you forget the band's there and get lost in a train of thought and forget to dance so end up looking like a bit of a weirdo. (Without getting too deep).

Just imagine Fuck Buttons having a panic attack whilst tripping on DMT but kind of masochistically finding relief in it at the same time. You should be frightened but you're not. Their music slips you into an eerie kind of trance, or suspense. It's like when Luigi Galvani thought he could galvanize dead frogs. There's a sense of excitement, foreboding, suspense, and guilt at this primordial desire at the same time.

This is a pitcha of the HEALTH gang. They're just a little bit pretty close up...
(from the HEALTH Myspace.)

I have no idea how they do more than one show a week. It would tire the fuck out of me. But these guys are from L-fucking-A (well, actually that's technically where they're based). They throw so much energy into their performances. They're without a doubt one of the best bands I have ever seen live. Performance-wise they are incredible.

They're mates with Crystal Castles too; they did a split with them (Health vs. Crystal Castles - Crimewave) which is worth buying on vinyl. And it has a well pretty cover.

Oh, and you have to listen to them very loud. The remixes are good too.

In Other News...Twins banned from farms.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Day in a Field

This weekend saw us heading down to the second ever Field day. Last year the festival was plagued with problems, sound quality was poor, not enough toilets or bars. This year there were more bars and apparently more toilets. If there were more toilets this year then I am quite glad I didn't go last time. The lines for the toilets were ridiculous and pretty soon people were going against pretty much any upstanding surface they could fine. I didn't ever experience any problems with the sound but there have been some murmurings to the contrary. I did experience problems with the weather though, and a new personal hate, umbrellas in crowds at festivals. They get in the fucking way and nobody can see anything. If you were one of the many many people using your umbrella to either hit me as you walked about or block my and everyone else's view, even when it wasn't raining you should be shot.

But this was a music festival in England, nobody expects thing to run perfectly. Then what would we have to complain about? But what about the music. The lineup was good, even with some of the better names on the lineup dropping out. Dan Deacon, (Lion with a sharks head) who you should go and see live whenever you can, he makes crowds look like this...

From Dan Deacon Myspace

Dan had his passport stolen and has had to cancel a string of European dates which is upsetting. The Mystery Jets also had to pull out due to illness. (Hideaway (Switch remix))

We started the day by watching a tiny bit of the Magistrates (The Inbetweens) from outside the tent. They sounded OK and having heard them referred to as Klaxons lite a couple of time I can kind of see why. After a little bit of wandering in the rain and pints costing the usual festival price of over £3 it was time for White Lies. They sounded impressive and by all accounts are one of the next big things in British music. They play big, dark sounding, atmospheric indie rock and are very tight. Theres no point posting a White lies track, they will be unavoidable in the coming months. However they used to be a band called Fear of Flying who to be honest I preferred, less Editors sounding more Video Nasties. (Threes a crowd,) ( Secret Eyes)

There were a number of singer song writers at the festival, we saw three who ranged from the Ok (Lightspeed Champion, Never Meant to hurt you (Good Shoes Cover)), to the very good, (Laura Marling, Its only my opinion) to quite possibly my highlight of the day, Jefferey Lewis. (Back when I was 4) The man is a fixture of the New York anti-folk scene and one of my all time favorite song writers. He is also a cartoonist of some skill and some of his songs are accompanied live by him holding up drawings to illustrate the songs.

The other contender for festival highlight was the Mae Shi. I saw them 3 times last week, Monday while flyering outside the blue last, no one offered me a bump, (Ali Love, Lost in the K hole (Live on XFM) ,but a very nice man offered me a ticket to the Mae Shi for a free, still very grateful. They were amazing, later that same night they played another show at DURRR, which was anything even better.

They looked like this. Photo from the DURRR flickr. Taken by Alex Warren.

They were great again at Field ay, although I would reccomend seeing them in as small a space as possible. ( See you again (Miley Cyrus Cover)

We did miss Benga, (Night (DJ Zinc remix) and Brodinski (Tiga, Sunglasses at night (Brodinski and Yuksek Remix) but all in all it was a pretty good day, at least in terms of the acts we saw.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

suck on my disco debut.

I like disco. But I'm not talking cheesy disco. When you think of disco now, you probably have a mental image of a double-disc CD sitting at the back of a dusty shelf in your parent's living room called '...And The Beat Goes On!! 40 Groovy Dance Hits of the 70's!' with a crappy tie-dye effect cover that they got for christmas in 1991.
The type of disco that I'm trying to articulate isn't the sort of disco played in clubs with psuedo-70s 'retro' knick knaks, a light-up dancefloor and leery old gay men lurking in the shadows luring eighteen-year-olds to do bumps of rohypnol under the guise that it's ketamine, either.
It's the stuff where the low pulse of the beat sends you into a narcotic trance. Where the synths and electronic frequencies have unprotected phonic sex with your eardrums. Where dirty, dark, and deep oscillations in the atmospheric pressure surrounding our ears cause a certain kind of pleasure in us, a sadistic pleasure at repressed fantasies.

Cerrone is a certified old-school disco maestro. He first appeared in my mum's record collection, and he's my favourite of all disco maestros. His new stuff isn't great. fact. But Cocomotion and Supernature are pretty sick disco tunes. Supernature in particular has been popping up in blogworld recently.

Giorgio Moroder is unfortunately largely played in faggy electro bars where if you took a picture of the people there they would look like the best anti-MDMA advert ever. Despite all of this, his soundtrack to Midnight Express is pretty sick. 'Chase' (circa 1978) sounds like a tractor beam from a mothership from outer space pulsating beats with a smooth electronic lazer show enticing you into a disco-induced reverie.

Jan Hammer wears jackets that make the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air look like he should just give up and get a job in Woolworths. This is the realist shit. He also made the theme tune to a rather famous show. You know. That one, Miami Vice (which Craze put on his (fairly) recent Fabric mix). I was suprised when I heard Crockett's Theme whacked out by a DJ in PUSH a couple of Saturdays ago. The gliding synths over the soft electronic beats helped to create a soundsystem that you just wanted to shake your ass to. It starts as an ominous, lonely beat, gradually building up to a synth laid like a delicate tablecloth over gentle, rocking electronica, like that perfect virginity-losing fantasy you had before it was probably lost in an alleyway round the back of The End, when Erol's night was still his.
It's all pretty much UNASHAMEDLY 80s. Forever Tonight has everything in there. Just listen to those synths. And the drums! Holy fucking fuck. And there are about a billion other instruments I can pick out but don't actually possess the musical knowledge to name them (shameful, as I am actually writing a music blog), but I swear they're recognisable from most 80s TV shows about the zany antics of 80's America's young kids in big cities. I've thrown the extended mix of Forever Tonight because it has the most 80's beginning ever. And it's also almost minimal. In a way. Just listen to it:

Ok, now the new stuff. My favouritist noveau disco artists have to be Glass Candy and Bogdan Irkuk. Bogdan is hot shit. He's from Bulgaria. And that's all I know.
The Distant Message is the track I put on when I've been out and come back and can't go to sleep. Smooth-as-fuck electronica with beats to make love to your lady to, while the synthesised voices whisper hot messages of love in your ear. It appears here next to some other hidden gems.

Glass Candy, of course, have to be included in this post. Digital Versicolor is the track being played in the clubs at the moment, but I think Computer Love is more accessible. B/e/a/t/b/o/x/ is an awesome album. It's also one of Pure Groove's favourite albums (and that's pretty damn special, considering they only stock their 100 favourites at any one time). Pretty fucking special.
If you're a fan of italo-disco/death disco and want to be taken to synthesiser and drum machine heaven, put a slice of this in your mp3 sandwich. Computer Love is slick, and full of glittery, sexy electronic beat showers. Give it a listen then go buy the album.

Events you should check out in LANDAN town:
9 August - Field Day

Oh, and - as it's the first post - here's a little treat for you.